Sunday, March 08, 2009

Where would you put Tarzan?

Where would you put Tarzan... if you were a GoodReads Librarian or a bookseller? I'm talking genre and category.

To check him out alphabetically, I plan to walk up the hill to my local library when the rain abates to see if he's shelved under Rice or Burroughs.

Is Tarzan Of The Apes science fiction? Fantasy? Romance? Or something else? There has been a very interesting discussion of the book and its sequels on GoodReads

I was asked to weigh in on the Romance. In my view, it's not a Romance, because the noble Tarzan doesn't end up with Jane at the end of the book. Some would argue that a Romance does not have to have a HEA.

Then, there's Edgar Rice Burroughs's command of the language of Romance. The "smothering" of Jane's "panting lips" with masculine kisses.

Apparently ERB did not enjoy the attentions of his editors, and it seems, he successfully resisted them.

The discussion there (on Goodreads) has been wide-ranging, from cannibalism, morality, kissing, nature versus nurture, the Frenchman's idea of a civilized drink. So I won't rehash. I simply thought that some of our group might be interested.

And now for something completely different, and random:

The April issue of DISCOVER magazine arrived this weekend. It contains articles about manipulating chicken embryos to grow new little dinosaurs, about infrared bats, and money. And much more.

Money. For those who love the small of money, here's why. There's more cocaine residue on US paper currency than on any other nation's promissory notes. There's also staph bacteria and fecal matter. Maybe you could get C-difficile from the bank!!!!

Hmmm. Who handles cash? People who are worried about their credit. Who prints money? The government. In an alternative universe where unscrupulous people might be in charge, they could impregnate cash with superbugs, put it into circulation, and solve all manner of problems.

There's an article about brain boosting drugs, and a suggestion that India or China might gain a competitive global advantage if they allowed their workers to use it. One headline "Drugs such as marijuana, LSD, mescaline"..."can increase creativity."

Some of the music and poetry from the Flower Power years was pretty good. Weren't there quite a few modern authors "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree" etc who felt that they did their best work when we would have pronounced them unfit to drive?

Artichokes aren't an illegal substance, so I freely admit that I think I write better when I drink artichoke tea. And, I have wilder dreams when I eat cheese last thing at night. Other authors swear by chocolate, or Pepsi.

Final thought. One of my family members is very keen on watching "It's Me Or The Dog", a program featuring dog trainer Victoria Stillwell (whose sartorial style reminds me of an off duty, very classy dominatrix, but that's another issue, and I hasten to say that she never, ever does anything cruel. Most of her discipline involves the giving or withholding of food treats, toys and praise).

Last night, Victoria recommended a combination of carrots and rice in the diet (of a stressed Weimeraner) to help it cope. I wonder whether carrots and rice at night would have a mellowing effect on us?

I may not get a chance to post next weekend. I shall be at the Amelia Island concours d'elegance.

Barbara Vey is celebrating a week of genre-based romance on her PW Beyond Her Book blog

Monday 9th is Paranormal/Futuristic day.

I heard (sorry, I did not memorize the link) that there is an editor on Twitter who announced yesterday that she is looking for a complete paranormal in a hurry as she has a sudden space to fill. I think it's Osbourne. Maybe a Tweet Beep, or #query would find it.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry
Space Snark (TM)


  1. I wonder if the language ERB chose to describe the effects of a man being in charge of even a kiss was the result of his having lived through the suffrage movement, and seeing (after he wrote Tarzan) women finally getting the vote nationwide here in the US. He probably used words to demonstrate men in the power position because that was all he wanted to understand. Lara Croft wouldn't be given the chance to whoop manly men's butt for decades. I was thinking of the other day when O'Reilly had some silly ladies on to share the result of their (most likely government funded) study that ended up showing most people thought Angelina Joile was more competent than Sarah Palin. Of course! Lara Croft was a huge box office draw because Angelina looks good kicking butt. Sarah Palin only has only done something boring like make billions for the state of Alaska, and helping keep the economy in Alaska floating while the rest of the US bobs around looking for handouts. Even Manly Man Arnold needed to find loans to keep California afloat.

  2. Thank you for your fascinating comment, Annalee.

    I've done (written) smothering osculation. But, if a kiss is going to smother, it has to be a single, open mouthed effort.

    Now, in Tarzan's case, that would be plausible because many large feline predators will cover a narrow muzzle with their mouths. I'm sure I've seen that on TV.

    Otherwise, they either puncture the spinal cord, or close the windpipe with a crushing bite to the neck.

    If he's dotting kisses, and she is panting, she's not being smothered.
    I'm so literal!

    What a visual image you have given me. I hear that there were Tarzan stories taking him into his 70s.

    Imagine Arnold as Tarzan.

    Imagine Angelina as Jane.

    I think I'd pay to see that!!!!

  3. I love IT'S ME OR THE DOG. The cases make our flaky St. Bernard look positively sedate. Yes, Victoria Stillwell's black outfit that she wears in the British episodes always reminds me of a dominatrix. In the U.S. episodes, she has started dressing more "softly" most of the time.

    In elementary school and my early teens, I was an enthusiastic Tarzan fan. I've read the first few books in the series several times. When they were written and for decades afterward, I think they would simply have been called "adventure stories." Nowadays I believe they would be shelved under SF. Not romance -- he doesn't even meet Jane until near the end of TARZAN OF THE APES. TARZAN OF THE APES and THE RETURN OF TARZAN (viewed as a single two-part story) have a love story subplot, but other plot elements are more dominant.

    Now, a good case could be made for A PRINCESS OF MARS being SF romance. The love story between John Carter and Dejah Thoris, ending in marriage, is a major plotline and could possibly be considered the main plot thread.

    I get a giggle out of the claim, when Tarzan "smothers her upturned face in kisses" (or however it goes) that he's doing what "no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing." Even lower primates, who (one would suppose) are more instinct-driven than human beings, can't mate successfully unless they've learned how by watching adults of their species in action. Of course, the "apes" of Tarzan's adopted family seem to be more advanced than any known great ape (probably a "missing link," as proposed by Philip Jose Farmer -- they are certainly not either chimps or gorillas, both of which are mentioned in the novels as separate species). So Tarzan may have gotten the general idea of sex and kissing from them. Chimps, at least, do perform actions similar to kissing.

  4. Margaret,

    It is such a pity you're not a "Constant Reader" and weren't part of the Tarzan conversation.



  5. I have always considered Tarzan to be alternate-history fantasy.

    For me, though, it just all happened on another planet in an adjacent Reality.

    As Fred Pohl said, "ALL FICTION IS FANTASY."

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg